“Absolutely he is not a violent person, nor a threat to the community,” Shellie Nicole Zimmerman said at her husband George Zimmerman’s bail hearing, according to MSNBC
Zimmerman’s father, George Zimmerman Sr., agreed.
"I've never known him to be violent at all unless he was provoked, and then he would turn the other cheek," the retired judge said.
Zimmerman’s mother, Gladys, said her son was "very protective" of vulnerable people such as the homeless and children. And any violence that he was a part of -- were misunderstandings or efforts to protect himself or a friend.
And her son isn't racist, either, she said. She described how he even got involved in a mentoring program for children in Orlando, noting that both of the children he mentored were African-American like Martin, according to the Associated Press
That's why Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O’Mara, asked the court to release his client while he awaits trial on a charge of second-degree murder in Martin’s death.
Shellie Zimmerman and George Zimmerman’s parents spoke to the court session, presided over by Circuit Judge Kenneth Lester,at the Seminole County Criminal Justice Center, through a phone connection because they say they have been threatened.
Zimmerman's wife added that she has received hate mail, MSNBC
reported. She did not, however, report the mail to the police, she admitted upon cross-examination.
History of violence
But assistant prosecutor Bernardo de la Rionda asked the family members about two incidents. In 2005, George Zimmerman had to take anger management courses after an undercover law enforcement officer accused him of attacking him as he tried to arrest Zimmerman’s friend.
In another incident, in 2005, his ex-fiáncée, hair salon employee Veronica Zuazo, filed for a restraining order against Zimmerman — for domestic violence.
Of this particular incident, according to the Miami Herald
, Zuazo claimed that she saw Zimmerman, her ex, driving near her home in August 2005. She called him and he said “he was just checking up” on her.
After they spoke for an hour at her home, Zuazo claimed she asked him to leave. He grew upset, snatching her cellphone away from her, pushing her, she said,The Herald writes.
A pushing match ensued and her dog, protecting her, jumped up and bit him on the cheek.
Zimmerman appears to change his story
In the end, judge Lester set a $150,000 bond for Zimmerman.
Minutes earlier, Zimmerman apologized to Trayvon Martin's family.
"I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son," Zimmerman, 28, said, speaking publicly for the first time about the Feb. 26 shooting, according to ABC
news. "I thought he was a little bit older than I was."
From the 911 transcript
released to the public, Zimmerman tells a different story.
Dispatcher: How old would you say he is?
Zimmerman: He’s got something on his shirt. About like his late teens.
Dispatcher: Late teens?
Zimmerman: Uh, huh.
Trayvon Martin was 17 years old.